DOB: March 10, 1985
The Twins selected Garrett Olson with their fourth round pick in the 2006 draft, making him the highest-ever selected player from Franklin Pierce College. A die-hard Red Sox fan, Olson did not even expect to go to the Twins, who made him the 126th overall player selected.
"I had talked to the Twins maybe a month ago," Olson told TwinCitiesDugout back in June. "I had contact with them a couple times, but they really weren't a team I expected to go to."
Franklin Pierce is a Division II college, which is right by the Vermont-Massachusetts border. The college has a good history of producing strong baseball players, making it a good stop for plenty of Major League scouts. During his senior season, Franklin Pierce went 46-13, as Olson batted .367 with 14 home runs.
However, the thing that separated Franklin Pierce from most other collegiate teams in the country is that they use wood bats during their conference games, giving a drafted player like Olson an advantage when they start out in professional baseball.
"I think it helps because I did not have to make the transition to wood bats," Olson explained. "I have been using wood for three years now, so there won't be any big change for me, except for the quality of the pitching."
Olson did make a successful jump to professional baseball, batting .313 for the Elizabethton Twins this past season. In 49 games, Olson drove in 20 runs as the team's third baseman, and he scored 31 times. He was a main reason for the Elizabethton Twins run for a second consecutive Appalachian League title that fell short in the league's championship game.
Batting and Power: The fact that Olson hit 14 home runs in college can be deceiving, based on the fact that 11 of them came while using aluminum bats during non-conference games. He does have good power to all fields, but he is not a home run hitter. He is more a guy who is going to hit doubles, and the occasional triple. He also has one of the better batting eyes in the organization, which he uses to induce plenty of walks. He projects as a .295/10/70 hitter.
Baserunning and Speed: Olson is a very athletic guy, and has good speed. He listed his athletic ability as his best tool, and we definitely agree. He is a very smart base runner, and rarely makes a mistake on the base paths. He is also good at turning a single into a double, using his athletic ability to take the extra base when others may not believe it is possible. He is definitely not a liability on the base paths.
Defense: Olson is a good defender, but it is his ability to play multiple positions that makes him such a valuable player to have on any ball club. Olson told us in the past that he can play third base, shortstop, or the outfield, and the Twins will see where he best fits in at the professional level. His collegiate coach said he is more adept to playing up the middle, but the Twins seem to like him at third base. He should get a chance to play multiple positions in Beloit next season.
ETA. 2010. Olson has an advantage over some of the other prospects at his level because of his collegiate experience, and the fact that he has been using the wood for four years now. He will get his first taste of full-season baseball during the 2007 season, and it will be interesting to see where he fits in the grand scheme of the Twins organization. He has the ability to play multiple positions, which is something that is going to work to his advantage during his professional career. It is not far off to say that he could end the 2007 season in either Fort Myers, or even New Britain.